A Youth Interfaith Dialogue on Love

Mariam Regine Guevara has been interested in society, culture and religion since her school days. She has just explored different faiths, delved into Islam and recently embraced it as her faith. She was among the guest of the Interfaith and the Future of the Earth and she represented the youth sector.

Aside from Islamic youth communities, her growing circle of friends come from multi-religious backgrounds, and she aims to gather them into a healthy interfaith dynamics. Thus, she invited them over at her home in Quezon City last April 20 for a get-together dinner and for an interesting, in-depth interfaith dialogue among her youth friends.

Love was chosen as a topic as it is explored in perspectives of different religions. Mariam invited Rem Tanauan of Pathfinders’ Commune to facilitate the dialogue.

Most of her friends who attended the event are Moslems, but there were also participants coming from different Christian denominations and other beliefs. Some are nonreligious/agnostic. Others are expatriates who came from Turkey and France. They were all 22 participants.

The entire discussion revolved around two subjects: first, the difference between human love and divine love; and second, romantic love and interfaith marriage between two different religions.

Here are some of the beautiful insights generated by the youth participants in the dialogue (The participant’s name who quoted each sentence was enclosed in parentheses):

“Love is a treasure of our heart and life is the way to find this treasure.” (Abi)

“Love is about valuing someone and something; it is all about treasuring and connection.” (Zen)

“We cannot separate  Romantic Love and Divine Love.” (Mona Liza)

“Loving has a goal – reaching and experiencing the Divine.” (Ara)

“Love has no perfect definition; it is always felt.” (Mike)

“Love is selfish, that is why it’s selfless.” (Jane)

“Love is the center.” (Nada)

Interfaith and the Future of the Earth

URI INTERFAITH EVENT

In celebration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week, URI-SEAPac region hosted a round table discussion entitled Interfaith and the Future of Our Earth: Exploring the Visions of Different Faiths in Protecting Our Planet, last February 07, 2013, at the Burgoo Restaurant, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Philippines. The event aimed to discuss the environmental and ecological issues and how to address them through interfaith perspective.

photo by Gath Hewlett

photo by Gath Hewlett

The roundatable discussion was initiated by Dr. Potre Diampuan, URI-SEAPac Regional Coordinator and moderated by  Mr. Rem Tanauan of Pathfinders’ Commune CC.

The panel was composed of various leaders in their respective religious groups: Ms. Lore Abaya of the  Focolare Movement; Ms. Adore Newman of Baha’i Faith; Dr. Abdulrafih Sayedy, an Imam and Islamic scholar;  Ms. Aisa Jarales, a Reiki practitioner founder of REIKI or Ruah Energy and Intuitive Knowledge Institute, and her partner, Mr. Gath Hewlett; Mr. Osbi Santillan of the World Without Wars and Violence; and Mr. Salvador Sonalan and Mr. Segundino Monterola of Eckankar movement;

Various government agencies were represented by the following: Mr. Rex Lores of Climate Change Commission;  Ms. Baibonn Sanguid of National Youth Commission; and Commissioner Bai Omera Dianalan Lucman of the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos

Filipino culture and spirituality was represented by Dr. Teresita Obusan, curator of Bahay Nakpil-Bautista in Quiapo Manila, and Mr. Reimon Cosare of Kaibagan ni Oriang.

Youth sector was represented by Regine Guevara, an ASEAN Youth Volunteer, and Salem Ahmed, a youth from Saudi Arabia.

 The round table discussion explored perspectives of different religions and government sectors on the issue of climate change, earth stewardship and the role of women and youth towards renewing and reinforcing of ecological consciousness.

Peter Mousaferiadis receives Honourable Mention for the Cultural Infusion CC at the 2013 Intercultural Innovation Award

peter    SoundInfusionLogo-BK

SOUND_INFUSION     logo

With his extensive background in music and stage production, Peter Mousaferiadis shares his vision of interfaith and intercultural harmony through Cultural Infusion. And with his years of effort and unwavering commitment, Cultural Infusion has just recently received an Honourable Mention at the 2013 Intercultural Innnovation Award Ceremony held at the Viennese Volkstheatre in Vienna, Austria. Peter received this award last February 27, 2013, which was the eve of the 5th UNAOC Global Forum, attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and famous Spanish tenor Placido Domingo.

Peter has led a project called Sound Infusion, which served as the nomination for Cultural Infusion. This music-based project was one of its kind, and with the award he received, Peter envisions a bolder, more expansive project that can be done across the globe. Aside from that, CI CC becomes a member of World Intercultural Facility for Innovation or WIFI, a platform that expands the networks of intercultural-oriented organizations with donors, mentors and previous winners.

(photos from neoskosmos.com, Cultural Infusion, and Intercultural Innovation)

This Time in Cambodia: the 8th URI-SEAPac Regional Assembly

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United Religions Initiative – Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region has been holding its regional assembly yearly since 2005. In 2011, it was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2012, it was in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the home of the majestic ancient temple Angkor Wat.

Held on November 15 to 20, URI-SEAPac leaders gathered again for a 4-day assembly at the Monoreach Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap. This was the first assembly coordinated by the newly appointed Regional Coordinator, Dr. Potre Diampuan.

Newly elected URI Regional Trustee Mr. Ros Sam An, together with other Cambodian youth CC leaders welcomed the  foreign delegates. Cambodian participants, who came from capital city Pnom Pehn, were Pheng Saochheng, Sok Sidon and Chan Sokneang of Youth Partners in Development and Peace (YPDP); Invited Cambodian youth Sotheary Chan, Niza Pheang, Sam Phors and Chunny Noem, who also emceed the program with Dr. Potre Diampuan.

Three Theravada Buddhist monks graced the event,beginning with the keynote message by Venerable Peng Sem, who is a well-known figure in Cambodian interfaith initiatives. The other monks were Venerable Chorvanny and Venerable Mai, who both come from an Cambodian NGO.

Ms. Sally Mahe, URI Global Director for Regional Development, represented the URI Global Council to participate on this yearly event. Mr. Musa Sanguila, co-founder of Pakigdait CC and re-elected URI Regional Trustee, as well as Former Regional Trustees Mr. Boni Quirog of Bohol Goodwill Volunteers and Dr. Amir Farid Isahak of Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship or INSAF attended the event.

From Australia, participants were Mr. Peter Mousaferiadis of Cultural Infusion and Ms. Ann Aisatullin of Multifaith Association of South Australia. Mr. Agus Indra Udayana of Ashram Gandhi Puri and Mr. Gede Suwatana of Ahimsa Satya Karuna both came from Indonesia. The rest of the delegates came from the Philippines: Anglican Bishop Stephen Villaester of the Interfaith Council CC; Brother Art Banawa of Kalinaw CC; Mr. Ludwig Bon Quirog and Ms. Marjorie Angalot of Bohol Goodwill Volunteers; Ms. Kristine Genita of Tulay CC; Mr. Rem Tanauan of Pathfinders’ Commune CC; Mr. Ruel Parena of Value Laden Professional Circle; and Dr. Noemi Medina of Mindanao Peace Garden CC.

The following is a brief summary of per day activities

  • Day 1: Opening Program with keynote speech and messages from interfaith leaders, followed by CC presentations
  • Day 2: World Cafe activity, plus deliberation of URI-SEAPac Bylaws
  • Day 3: Continuation of Bylaws deliberation, followed by on “Searching the Common Thread” using the Open Space technology
  • Day 4: Presentation from Cambodian hosts, discussion of other agenda, heart talks and closing ceremonies.